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Control was crucial says Cockerill

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Control of possession and the desire to keep going with the game well won were among the qualities that pleased Richard Cockerill most on Saturday.

Tigers ran in eight tries in a 48-6 home win over Leeds Carnegie, taking the defending champions’ try tally to 19 in four matches in the Aviva Premiership Rugby season so far.

“We controlled the ball better this week,” said director of rugby Cockerill. “You saw that sometimes passes maybe should have gone but we held on because we wanted to make sure of that ball control. The way the new interpretations work, you have to look after the ball.

“We have had a hits in terms of confidence in the last couple of weeks but we did it really well this time. Geordan Murphy’s captaincy was really good, really positive, the players backed themselves.

“Our display was based on a very good set-piece and we set very high standards there.

“There are bits we can work on and improve, but we have got to take the bonus-point win and take it on from there.”

Tigers were forced into some pre-match changes due to injury, with Jeremy Staunton and Marcos Ayerza ruled out ahead of the game.

“Our injury rate is not great at the moment, but we trust the players in the squad to come in and do the job when they have the opportunity,” said Cockerill.

“Marcos had a bruised hand earlier in the week, he had a scan which showed nothing, but then on Friday he lifted in the lineout and it felt a bit sore. He’s had another scan and it showed a hairline fracture which will probably keep him out for a couple of weeks.

“But Boris Stankovich is a quality player and he came in and did a really good job. He’s a really good bloke, a really positive influence in the camp.

“We hoped Jeremy Staunton would be okay but we had another look and we’ve discovered a tear in the Achilles. That is unfortunate, but you just have to deal with it. Toby Flood is not far off in terms of being back to fitness and Billy Twelvetrees has done some good things at fly-half and he is learning with the experience.”

Hooker George Chuter took a knock against Leeds but Cockerill reported his withdrawal had been “a precaution” and the England international will be available for the trip to face former club Saracens at Vicarage Road on Sunday.